Are you preparing to go through a divorce, or are separating from a significant other to whom you were never married? Do you share children with your ex? If you do, you may find that figuring out child custody arrangements is more challenging than you expected.
The simple truth is this: not all parents in Nebraska or elsewhere agree on what is best for their children. They have different ideas about what they deem acceptable living arrangements and visitation schedules. While many parents are ultimately able to come to child custody terms through private negotiations, many need a judge to weigh in on the matter. When a custody case goes to court, what factors do the court consider before setting the terms of the custody order?
Nebraska child custody basics
Before digging too far into the details, let’s discuss the basic custody laws recognized by the state. In Nebraska, both parents have the right to seek custody of their children. There are four types of child custody currently recognized by the state, which are:
- Sole custody
- Split custody
- Joint physical custody
- Joint legal custody
Sole custody is where one parent receives physical and legal custody of the kids. Split custody is where each parent gains custody of a specific child — or children. Joint legal custody is where both parents share decision-making rights. Finally, joint physical custody is where both parents share access to the children. Joint custody does not necessarily mean awarding a 50/50 split, but it should be close to that.
If you have children out of wedlock
For unwed fathers, the establishment of paternity is a must. You may do this either voluntarily by signing an affidavit of parentage or through DNA testing. Once there is confirmation of parentage, one may file a petition for custody in court.
Factors that affect custody outcomes
Several factors affect the final custody terms. They include:
- A child’s wishes
- The wishes of both parents
- Home environment
- Parent-child relationship
- Work schedules
- History of physical, alcohol or drug abuse
The court will set custody terms based on what it believes will serve the best interests of the children. Traditionally, mothers have received preferential treatment in custody cases, but that is changing. More men are fighting to gain access to their children than ever before. If you want custody of your children, you certainly have the right to seek it and fight for the arrangements you believe will best serve your family.